TikTok had already supplied its assertion relating to the Trump administration’s govt order that may ban the app from the U.S. if it’s not offered by Chinese-owned father or mother firm ByteDance by a given deadline. Today, the corporate has moreover launched its personal on-line informational hub and a brand new Twitter account designed to offer it a devoted platform for its collected responses, together with these the place it might want to reply extra shortly — maybe in response to the president’s tweets, for instance, or with different breaking information.
On Monday, TikTok launched tiktokus.data, an internet site that organizes the corporate’s statements, information protection, “knowledgeable opinions,” FAQs and different assets in a single vacation spot. Oddly titled “The Last Sunny Corner of the Internet,” TikTok makes the case for its app as a spot the place thousands and thousands categorical themselves creatively. It additionally goes on document to flatly deny that it will ever present TikTok U.S. consumer knowledge to the Chinese authorities. And it spells out its commitments to areas like consumer security and safety, in addition to its commitments to combating election misinformation and interference, amongst different issues.
TikTok additionally strongly refers back to the rising considerations over U.S. consumer privateness and safety as “rumors and misinformation” which might be “proliferating in Washington and within the media.”
The app, within the months main as much as the manager order, had change into the topic of a nationwide safety investigation within the U.S. on account of its Chinese possession. Despite TikTok’s proclamations that it will by no means share U.S. consumer knowledge with China’s authorities, a Chinese regulation launched in 2017 requires Chinese firms to do exactly that, when requested, elevating considerations about to what extent TikTok would be capable of decline such a request.
Meanwhile, a extra not too long ago revealed investigation by The WSJ discovered that TikTok had been monitoring Android consumer knowledge, particularly customers’ MAC addresses, utilizing a tactic that was in violation of Google’s Play Store insurance policies and obfuscated utilizing “an uncommon added layer encryption.” TikTok ended the apply final November after 15 months of information assortment, the report stated. However, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission considers the MAC deal with “personally identifiable data” below some privateness legal guidelines.
Beyond its round-up of on-the-record statements attributed to each TikTok and its execs, together with TikTok CEO Kevin Mayer, the brand new web site highlights any protection it deems favorable. These hyperlinks vary from pro-TikTok op-eds that come out in opposition to the Trump E.O. to mere write-ups about this or that TikTok star’s success, or those who element how advertisers and types are utilizing TikTok’s advert expertise to achieve customers. These are bundled beneath the web site’s “knowledgeable opinions” part, which additionally options statements from civil liberties organizations and others, just like the ACLU, Information Technology & Innovation Foundation, Internet Governance Project and extra.
The web site’s FAQ part solutions questions like “has TikTok ever shared consumer knowledge with the Chinese authorities?” and properly, “would it not,” if requested? Both questions are answered, not surprisingly, “no.” It additionally clarifies that TikTok U.S. consumer knowledge is saved in Virginia, with a back-up in Singapore and strict controls on worker entry.
The firm additionally launched “@tiktok_comms” on Twitter to share information and updates from the TikTok Communications Team. While it’s frequent for firms to have a social media presence to share their information, this account’s launch specifically appears designed with the aim of with the ability to extra shortly react to adjustments and updates surrounding its U.S. ban, which has already been prolonged to 90 days after the issuing of the E.O., as an alternative of 45 days, as earlier than.
Creating a devoted web site to tout an organization’s official place on a subject has change into a extra frequent tactic now that world governments are extra actively involving themselves within the tech business’s enterprise. Apple, as an example, launched an internet site to defend its App Store in opposition to U.S. antitrust complaints. Google at present even co-opted its important Search web page to foyer in opposition to a change to a regulation in Australia that may power it to share advert revenues with media companies.
But the brand new web site isn’t the one method TikTok has been combating again to retain its place in the important thing U.S. market. The firm additionally reportedly plans to problem the constitutionality of the ban in a lawsuit. Plus, U.S. TikTok staff are planning their very own authorized problem to the ban — all information of which is able to probably quickly hit the brand new web site and Twitter, we’d wager.